Smith ranks third in NFL in passing

October 10, 2011, 1:55 pm
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For the first time in his career, quarterback Alex Smith was removed from a game because of success.

When the 49ers took over with 9:57 remaining, rookie Colin Kaepernick entered in a mop-up role with his team leading 41-3. Kaepernick completed 3 of 3 pass attempts for 35 yards.

Entering the Monday night game, Alex Smith ranks third in the NFL with a 104.1 passer rating. Aaron Rodgers (122.9) and Tom Brady (109.5) are ahead of him. Detroit's Matthew Stafford, whose team plays the Chicago Bears, is sixth at 100.3.Here are some other quick-hitters a day after the 49ers' 48-3 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
--For the second week in a row, the 49ers' next opponent plays on a Monday night. The Lions (4-0) are one of two unbeaten teams in the NFL, entering the game against Chicago.--Third running back Anthony Dixon did not see any snaps on offense until the final drive. He carried twice for 4 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run.--Guard Adam Snyder took over in the blocking-back position that nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga filled the previous two games. Sopoaga missed Sunday's game with a staph infection.--Receiver Michael Crabtree caught two passes for 36 yards, but he also did a fine job as a blocker. On an end-around in which Ted Ginn gained 24 yards, Crabtree knocked cornerback Ronde Barber out of the play and then got a shoulder on linebacker Dekoda Watson, knocking him to the ground. "Teddy and Josh Morgan are like my brothers," Crabtree said. "When they have the ball, I'm going to do the best I can to block and make that play go further."--Cornerback Shawntae Spencer did not play after missing most of last week's practice time with a toe injury. Rookie Chris Culliver was the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback and played -- and played well -- in all nickel situations. He recorded his first career interception.--Rookie defensive end Aldon Smith remained in his role as a nickel pass rusher, and he picked up two sacks. The No. 7 overall pick now has a team-leading 3.5 sacks -- all in the past two games.--Punter Andy Lee was used only once. Near the end of the first half, he landed a 38-yard punt at the Tampa Bay 5-yard line, where Preston Parker ill-advisedly made a fair catch.--Linebacker Patrick Willis recorded 12 tackles, which is a good sign for nose tackle Ricky Jean Francois, making his first NFL start. It demonstrates that Jean Francois was tying up enough blockers to allow Willis to make plays. RJF also added three tackles while playing every snap of base defense.--David Akers was 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts. He also made a kick from 46 yards early in the fourth quarter. But the 49ers removed those points from the board to accept a 15-yard leverage penalty on Watson, who used another player to spring higher in an attempt to block the kick. On the next play, Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for a 14-yard touchdown.

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